I am NOT a runner

I am NOT a runnerI am NOT a runner. 

I cannot even begin to tell you how often I have spoken those very words. Let’s just say that if I had a dollar for every time I spoke them, I would be laying on a beach in Hawaii instead of sitting in my office writing this blog.

Just two years ago I was a very unhealthy woman. I lived on a diet of pop and chips, little sleep, and emotional turmoil. I was trying to balance work, parenting a teenager and three children under six, and adjust to my husband starting a job where he worked away. On top of that, I was trying to cope with the grief of losing several close family members during a very short period of time. I usually did this by smoking like a chimney and trying to sleep whenever I could possibly manage.

Over and over and over I told myself –

I can’t do this!

I desperately wanted time to just swallow me up whole and make the world stop for a while. I was terribly unhappy.

And then my miracle happened. It came in the form of a sign advertising a Bootcamp being offered at a local park.

Long story short, I joined. The first night I had to do a fitness test.

I couldn’t run.

I couldn’t do a sit up.

I couldn’t do a push up.

I was embarrassed. I wanted to cry. I screamed in my head –

I can’t do this!

The trainer, Krista, looked at me and said – that’s OK. It will get better. The other people in the group, they encouraged me to keep trying, to keep working, that I could do it. They were so loud they drowned out the voice in my head. And somewhere along the line, I started to believe them. Soon, whenever I encountered struggles, I reminded myself

I CAN do this!

And over time, I discovered that yes, I could do it. I could be a great Mom and Wife. I could quit smoking. I could change my lifestyle. A year and a half later I completed a 10k run with some great ladies and had a blast doing the Zombie Run put on by a local gym.

Still, those words rang out in my head –

I am NOT a runner.

Everyone told me that yes, I could be a runner. I disagreed and reminded them of my retirement following the 10k.

And then I started running again – to get in shape for a trip we are taking in the spring. And I’ve discovered that what I have believed about myself for years and years, that I am not a runner, is simply not true. It turns out that

I AM a runner. 

Maybe not a fast one, but a runner nonetheless.

 

This got me to thinking . . . why do we spend so much time telling ourselves what we cannot do? Is it fear of trying? Is it fear of failure? Is it the discomfort of moving beyond our comfort zone?

It is so important to believe in ourselves – to trust that we can accomplish whatever we set our minds to. It’s so important to be open to experiencing the feelings of discomfort and uncertainty that go hand in hand with trying something new. It is so important to surround ourselves with cheerleaders – those people who will tell us over and over that we can indeed do it until suddenly we believe it.

When I look back on the woman I was two years ago, I want to just hug her and tell her it will get better. I want to let her know that she doesn’t need the world to swallow her up – that there are people out there who will believe in her, even though she is not yet ready to. That it will be hard to take that first step, but oh, what a world awaits her once she does!

It’s time to close the door on what I’ve told myself I can’t do for the last several years. I’m not that woman anymore.

 

Are there things you tell yourself you can’t do? Are there ways you prevent yourself from trying new things? Who are the cheerleaders in your life?